The presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey has become an annual event, but the peace pact between the fowl and the White House is a relatively new thing. And in fact, a few presidents actually ate their guests!
The first president to unofficially pardon a turkey was Abraham Lincoln, who instructed the White House to save a bird given to the president. Lincoln’s son had grown fond of the bird (and the president was a big animal lover).
But Lincoln didn’t start a tradition, and neither did President Harry S. Truman, who is often credited as the father of the presidential turkey pardon. (NationalConstitution Center)
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